Thursday, September 20, 2012

TAPS


#2 - TAPS

 

SUMMARY (Skip if you don’t want Spoilers)

Based on the 1979 novel Father Sky, by Devery Freeman.
 

A famous military academy is about to be shut down and turned into condominiums.  And one student, Brian Moreland, will not let it go without a fight.  After having their General taken in by the police on an accidental shooting on the campus that resulted in a death, Moreland resolves to do right by the man that he admires and respects.  In an attempt to keep the school, he rallies the younger students to him and they take Bunker Hill Academy under siege and lock it down from those who would bow to the wishes of their supposedly esteemed leaders.

George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, and Tom Cruise star in this movie about fighting for what you believe in, no matter the cost, no matter the sacrifice.


REVIEW

As I watched this, I couldn’t help but be amazed, once more, by the amazing acting talent of Timothy Hutton.  Though Sean Penn and Tom Cruise co-star, both of them lack the natural grace and subtle, powerful confidence that Hutton portrays in his role as their senior officer, and it makes him appear as though he is more of a seasoned veteran than they are, and instead more on the same level as George C. Scott. (see Below for picture of Hutton and Scott)

 

This movie was one of those wonderful harmonies of actors, director, script, and story.  Along with George C. Scott, who portrays the commanding officer, we are given a true gem of amazing talents from many different people.   There is a special determination in it, and I could feel my heart joining with the young men who were defending their school.  The silent strength of Hutton’s portrayal of Brian Moreland is on par with Scott’s character of Brigadier General Harlan Bache, and got him nominated for a Golden Globe, which I feel he should have won. (not that I’m biased or anything)

Throughout the movie, I was able to see the stark difference between Moreland and the rest of the cadets.  They are all following Moreland and looking to him to pull him through, but as an audience we are shown the other side of this leader, one that is vulnerable, but through that we are able to more fully able to understand his strength and his belief that what he is doing is right.

Every single time the tune of Taps was played, I felt my heart in my throat and my eyes swelling with unshed tears, which, at times, escaped.  There is a feeling of absolute dedication to honor throughout the film, interspersed with crass, military language as a dark, comedic relief.  As I watched it, I felt a new perspective emerge that I had never seen before.  I could literally feel the breaking of convictions, the wavering of Moreland’s doubt…the devastating sadness that overcame him.  This is a film that kept in tears almost constantly, but it was worth every moment.

 
There is a true lesson in this, one that seems to say to me, Do the honorable thing...but don’t forget who you’re doing it for.  It may say other things to other people, but the message to me is loud and clear, as well as being quite beautiful.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ordinary People


#1 - Ordinary People
 
 

SUMMARY (Skip if you don’t want Spoilers)

This is a movie directed by Robert Redford that is reminiscent of the 70’s with its ending, and has so much emotion in it that you can hardly breathe throughout the time that you’re watching it.  Starting off with a seemingly happy family, you are eventually pulled into their complicated webs of denial that are keeping the illusion intact that, yes, they are truly happy.

A death of a son is not something that is easily dealt with, but they seem to each handle it in their own way.  The father is trying to understand and help his son, the mother is attempting to control every single aspect of her life, while the son is slowly slipping into a dark depression.  His suicide attempt and hospitalization one month before is the only outward sign of his distress, but because of his seemingly easy transition back into regular daily life at home, the parents don’t push.  At least, the mother doesn’t.

REVIEW

As I watched this movie, I found myself moved by the fact that there is no soundtrack to the movie.  Only rarely do you hear the faint strains of a well-known classical piano piece in the background.

The portrayal of Conrad, the son, by actor Timothy Hutton, is a haunting one.  His facial expressions throughout are beautifully subtle and realistic of someone trying to deny themselves the release of their true feelings.  What is rather unique about this role is how Hutton portrays the emotions throughout the film…the truth is, it’s not entirely acting.

An intriguing history behind Hutton’s portrayal of the character has to do with the recent death of his father just before he received the role of Conrad.  Working with director Robert Redford, he was able to channel his anger and disjointed emotions into the emotions of the character of Conrad, his acting becoming, quite literally, therapy that he was being paid to take.  (click on LINK for full article and story) http://storage.people.com/people/archive/jpgs/19801215/19801215-750-72.jpg
 
In one rather intense scene, Conrad calls and meets his therapist (portrayed by Judd Hirsch) at two in the morning , (picture shown at TOP) where he then continues to have an emotional breakdown, which appears to me to be an actual emotional breakdown of Hutton himself, and not just his character.  There is an intensity to him that seems to be drawing from deep-seeded emotion and suffering, and it reaches through the screen and grabs at my heart, causing me to ache for him.  Whether the sympathy is for the character or the actor, I’m not entirely sure, but there is one thing I am sure of: it’s raw and it’s real.

 The entire movie reminds me very much of how the world deals with grief and emotion: denial.  We have therapists, but like the characters in the movie, we resent the idea that we need them.  Constantly being told by the world around us that we are in control of our lives and that we can do it on our own, we don’t like the idea of spilling our innermost thoughts to a stranger, but in the end it ultimately lets us realize, just like the movie shows, that there are no such thing as “ordinary people”.  Instead, there is only the illusion, and then the irrational hope that if we ignore things, the hard things, they will simply go away.  “Ordinary People” is a movie that shows that we are all simply struggling in our own ways to try and fit into this irrational idea of being “ordinary.”  Ordinary people…do they exist, or are they just an ideal that have been fabricated by the masses to have something to aspire to?
 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

WELCOME!! So excited to have you here!  I am a huge movie buff, but not for all those classics...but not for the newer stuff either.  I live in that in-between world of indie films and those hidden jems that are not as few and far between as one might think...

Welcome to my world...where movies collide with art and become masterpieces that either have your heart swelling with joy or breaking with sadness with the pure beauty of the harmony of actor, script, director, and story.

The first movie that I will review might be one that you recognize.  An Academy Award winning actor is in it...and got his Academy Award because of it.

WARNING! There will be movie spoilers ahead, but if you don't really care, then go ahead and leap in!